“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
–1 John 2:15-17
Things are not getting better folks. I am sorry. I wish that I could write a really great, positive message about how wonderful the economy is bouncing back. I wish I could tell everyone that the light at the end of the tunnel is in sight, that the country will start to flourish and all of us will be back to work very soon. But it just isn’t happening.
A CNBC article today announced that the Dow Jones Industrial Index was down considerably after the government reported that the recovery is stalling. I am writing this in the middle of the day so it might bounce back. However, the writing is on the wall. Wall Street just does not have much confidence in our economy these days. We have a housing market in collapse. We have oil prices soaring due to crisis in the Middle East. The Obama Administration announced they were releasing 30 million barrels of oil from our strategic reserve.
We hear it around us. We see it in the news. It is obvious to anyone who looks around. Crime is increasing. An article from a couple of years ago tells us what we know is true. As economic problems increase, desperation sets in. Some people turn to crime in search of staying afloat. Others, taking advantage of the situation, use the economic down turn as an excuse to pursue illegal activity. It then becomes a downward spiral, as the economy forces local governments to cut back, forcing police forces to work more with less, causing an even sharper increase in crime.
So why do I write such depressing words?
Am I trying to throw salt into an already gaping wound?
But I am trying to offer a way to survive this mess.
Maybe, just maybe, money isn’t everything. Maybe there is a way to survive without the constant pursuit of wealth and profit.
Maybe the answer is in a book.
“The Lord sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts.”
God has tried to tell us in many ways, through His word, how to humble ourselves and stay away from idolizing our possessions. For the most part – as a nation – we have not listened. Life in our society is so much about what we own – the car we drive, the house we live in, the jewelry we wear. We love our status symbols. Yet what happens to us when those status symbols are gone? What happens when God allows those material things to disappear? What are we really without the cars, the houses, the jewelry?
Imperfect, fallen creatures, now devoid of an identity because we chose to create an identity based on worldly possessions instead of based on the only thing that matters – God. Yes this is a depressing post, but I feel it is an important one.
Think it about it for just a second.
The last time you were at the mall, didn’t you see plenty of people? When you walk into many of the restaurants in your town, don’t you still see people there? Yes we are in a recession, and things may be getting worse, but if we need to keep things in perspective. The United States is still the wealthiest country in the world. Poverty in America means you still get a check from the government. Most of the poor in our country still have a place to go for help. Contrast that with countries like Haiti. Compare that with some of the poorer countries in Africa, where people literally starve to death.
Yet we are already seeing the panic in this country. We see people in the news use expressions like “economic meltdown” and “economic depression”. What will happen in this country if one day we truly see an economic collapse? What will happen if the worse happens?
Maybe, just maybe – it is time for a change.
I am talking about real change here folks, not just lip service. Maybe it is time to start realizing what is important. God has a way of showing up in our lives whether we like it or not. No I am not saying that God is causing the economic collapse. I would never presume to know that. But He sure is allowing it. Is it possible He is doing it for a reason? Is it possible it is a warning?
“There has no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.”
–1 Corinthians 10:13
God does not allow bad things to happen without cause. What a temptation it can be to stray from His will in times like these, choosing to take matters into our own hands. For some, the temptation is so great, the desperation so much, that they succumb to this fallen world, and do things they will regret. But He is faithful to us, and He loves us more than we know. He allows us to suffer, but always offers a way out, a way of escape.
What could He possibly be telling us now?
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money”
I believe the Bible is clear as to how He wants us to deal with money and possessions. We are not to serve them, but Him. The fact is that the cars we drive, the houses we live in, the jewels on our fingers and necks, the clothes on our backs – they are not ours, but His. He owns everything. We are simply stewards of those resources. We can choose to manage them wisely, or He can simply take them away, to be managed by someone else.
Sometimes Christians in America like to think of our nation as such a great nation. I think sometimes we tend to believe that God favors us, that he thinks of us as a great people, worthy of His praise. But are we really? Are we simply being foolish? Is that God talking, or is it simply our pride? Let’s remember that pride is the root of evil. There are wonderful things to be very happy about in America. There is no doubt about that. But the day we consider ourselves to be so great that we don’t need a Savior, may be the day He takes us down a notch or two.
Maybe it is already happening.
My hope is that as a nation, we find a way to humble ourselves. America needs to spend more time on its knees in prayer than it spends bowing down to the almighty dollar. I hope that as a nation, we start to learn what is really important in life, and it isn’t accumulation of wealth.
It is about love.
It is about humility.
It is about faith.
But it all starts with God’s grace.
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